Online, Speed Matters

A great website isn’t enough. A great fast website is essential. Your site needs to load quickly to have any chance of engaging.

A recent Unbounce study of 750 consumers and 395 marketers confirms that page load speed matters. Almost 70% of digital consumers say that page load speed influences whether or not they will buy from an online retailer. More than half of visitors will leave a web page if a page takes more than three seconds to load.

Here’s another reason to care: Google recommends a page load speed of five seconds or less. Pages that load quickly get higher rankings than those that don’t.

If your social media marketing isn’t generating results, the problem might be that your website is slow. If users aren’t getting a fast, valuable experience when they click website links in your social media posts, they will move on.  Your great website will never have a chance to make an impression.

The Pitfalls of Rebranding

Guest Post by Julie Young, Young Design

Lately, it feels the world is awash in re-branding: Dunkin’ Donuts wants to be known as only “Dunkin'”; Weight Watchers is now “WW”; Papa John’s fired their CEO and has a new logo.

Re-branding used to be tweaking a logo’s design to bring it up to date with current trends or pivoting the business to a new product. Today, rebranding is also about correcting past perceptions and mitigating missteps by management.

Let’s take a look at these branding changes and their companies’ rationales:


Dunkin’ Donuts says it wants to be known more for fast coffee than donuts. As of January 2019, they will be known as “Dunkin’ ”. A common consumer response to the change was: “That’s what we already call them!”

The pink and orange color palette and rounded font remain the same. But product changes are being introduced, such as cold-brew and digital ordering kiosks.

And Dunkin’ is not likely to suffer from the name change. Starbucks and McDonald’s are its main competitors, who don’t really ‘do’ donuts. In fact, for the last 8 years Dunkin’ has been the number one retailer of coffee, donut and muffin servings, selling 2.9 billion donuts and donut holes per year.

Papa Johns (no apostrophe!)

In 2018, Papa John’s founder and CEO John Schnatter resigned due to a racial slur he made during a media training conference call. They removed Schnatter’s face from all marketing materials, and implemented company-wide unconscious bias training (similar to Starbucks in spring of 2018).

The company then rebranded, by redesigning the logo, shortening the tagline and dropping the apostrophe in “John’s” to become “Papa Johns”. It seems to signal the end of Schnatter’s ownership, even if grammatically incorrect. The new logo has the same red and green, but is vastly different from the original and nothing to write home about (neither was the old one).

How will Papa Johns weather this change? According to the company, “sales would continue to struggle in the first half of 2019, but will improve by the second half.”


After 55 years, Weight Watchers actually changed their name to “WW” in 2018, stressing wellness instead of dieting. Their new tagline is “Wellness that Works”. But who wants to pronounce “double-U double-U”?

Changing a corporate name is very risky. Brand experts say to never shorten a brand name to initials if consumers haven’t already shortened it for you (remember KFC?). Predictably, the new name has cratered WW’s shares: The abrupt change negatively impacted their first quarter, which is the crucial diet season after the holidays. “It’s gone from being a high flying growth company to being a beaten-up kind of turnaround situation,”said Linda Bolton Weiser, an analyst at D.A. Davidson & Co.

Oprah Winfrey, a major WW shareholder, has been called upon to rescue what CEO Mindy Grossman characterized as a “poorly executed marketing campaign”. WW’s social media accounts and website now say: “WW. Weight Watchers reimagined.” They’re still busy trying to explain the name change. It is likely be a long slog to regain their footing.

“If you were starting a new brand now, sure, you could become more of a lifestyle program,” said Laura Ries, co-founder of consulting firm Ries & Ries. “You have to deal with who you are today. It’s very hard to change a brand.”

About the author: Julie Young is a print and web designer at Young Design. For over 20 years, she has been creating quality branding, print collateral, websites and email marketing to help companies communicate with their customers and raise profiles and profits.

The Right Link Text Will Get You Ahead

Recent research by Nielsen Norman Group gives great advice on the best link labels.  To get the most clicks, write specific links that set sincere expectations, are substantial enough to stand alone, and are as succinct as possible.

As people scan your site, they look for links to get them to the information you want. Keep these four elements in mind to create links.

A link’s primary purpose is to communicate to users what they’ll find when they click. Vague or repetitive language fails that purpose. “Learn more” and “Click here” are not effective links.

What makes a great link? These four elements:

  • Specific: Make the link text specific, so the user knows exactly what they’ll get.
  • Sincere: Link text must set expectations that will be instantly met when the user clicks . When links set expectations that aren’t met, the user’s trust in the site and the organization it represents is reduced.
  • Substantial: Most users scan rather than read online. Links draw attention. The link text needs to give the user enough information to decide to click.
  • Succinct: Get to the point as quickly as possible, to increase the likelihood that users will quickly understand the link.